Octave Shifting in Dorico

Hi - My guitar instructor suggests I shift my melody line up an octave in Dorico. This, he says, is so my melody PLAYS back higher than its accompanying chords. He suggested I input something like “8va” somewhere to achieve this. He doesn’t use Dorico.

Is this sensible?

If so, does anyone know how to attain this result for playback purposes.

Thanks! Joe

If you want it everywhere you use that instrument, I would just do this in the Expression Map. Add 12 (semitones) to the Transpose entry, and any instrument using that EM will play an octave higher.

Select your melody notes. Use ctrl-alt up arrow to shift them up an octave. With them all still selected, shift-c 8va will add an octave line and reposition the notes back to their original position on the stave. Playback will be an octave higher.

Awww, that’s so beautiful. Perfect. Many, many, many thanks. Joe

1 Like

Hi @Joseph_Cadieux,
The guitar is a transposing instrument and it sounds an octave below the written pitch.
If you are using a virtual guitar like some of the Ample Sound’s, then you’ll need to shift the pitch by 12 semitones in the Expression Maps (as @FredGUnn suggests) in order to be accurately played, because the Guitar Staff in Dorico is set as transposing.
If the melody composed by you is just written low, it will sound even an octave lower, so you need to follow the @Janus instructions.
But since you are the composer of the music, then you decide where the melody will be placed. Keep in mind that sometimes the melody could be kept in the lower register, while the harmony in the higher. :slight_smile:
Well, it also depends on the guitar… If you play an electric one, then the harmony sounds more stable and full when it’s performed from mid, to low register, while the melody/solo from mid-high.
If you play an acoustic guitar, then you could do both, because this guitar is richer of harmonics, so even thou the melody is performed lower than the harmony, it will sound fine. :slight_smile:


Along these same lines… I did raise the melody on guitar an octave on playback, but now it sounds tinny, too high. Is there possibly a way to keep the melody where it is, but make the CHORDS play lower in Dorico?

Perhaps I’m not being sensible? I don’t know! - I’m new to these waters, so thanks to anyone able to throw me a preserver.


Hi @Joseph_Cadieux,
Yes, there is a way to make the chords sounding lower.
If you input them by using MIDI keyboard Dorico will playback the chords as they were written following the exact same voice leading, too.
Check out for more info about the Chord Track here:

In case there is a way to transpose them an octave lower

Thurisaz :slight_smile:

Have you thought to assign the chord track to a different, softer instrument so that your plucked melody will come through.

chord track

Using Thurisaz’s solution and quieting the realized chords in your mixer is another option.

1 Like

As we don’t know how your music looks like on the score sheet, it’s hard to tell you what will be the best option in your case.
If you are able to share at least few bars of the most problematic places, as dorico file, or screenshot here. (before and after pitch shifting them)
Of course you should tell us what instrument is supposed to play the harmony.
You should keep in mind that if the timbral differences between the instruments is important as well. Both instruments could occupy the same tonal range, but the timber of the leading one should be the dominant.
We need to know what you are trying to achieve as an arrangement in order to give you the best advice. :slight_smile:

Best wishes,

1 Like